Europe is a major destination for international students, many of them willing to stay after graduation. International graduates, however, exhibit a high level of sensitivity with respect to political imbalances: A dominance of the right-wing political spectrum may lower the number of international graduates staying by up to 47%. This effect is particularly strong in election years when voters’ political preferences become more salient. Unfavourable immigration policies, possibly implemented to satisfy the electorate, deter further potential stayers – even when these policies are targeted at entirely different groups of migrants. Eventually, this amounts to a considerable loss for European economies since international graduates have acquired destination country specific human capital and are easily integrated into host societies.
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